In November 2020, Defendant AmeriGas agreed to settle the class-action claims. The Court gave its initial approval to the settlement, and the Claims Period opened on January 6, 2021. Se unlawful depends on an unfounded assertion that the parties agreed to keep their prices fixed.
ALWAYS close the https://coinbreakingnews.info/ valve and, if required, seal with a plug, even if the cylinder is empty. We work to advance government policies that protect consumers and promote competition. Find legal resources and guidance to understand your business responsibilities and comply with the law. The Action News 5 Investigators would have never found out — if we hadn’t been grilling burgers with Richard Rendos. Pursuant to FTC policy regarding the term for competition orders, the proposed orders will expire in 20 years.
One can only assume that tether took comparable steps following the settlement. In light of these considerations and others, scarce Commission resources would have been better spent pursuing other, more worthwhile matters. I voted against the issuance of the Part III complaint against AmeriGas and Blue Rhino last March, and I now dissent from the consent agreement proposed by the Commission. I write briefly to explain my opposition to the majority’s pursuit and now settlement of this novel, unwarranted enforcement action.
AmeriGas propane grill tanks contain a net weight of 15lbs of propane. Learn more about your rights as a consumer and how to spot and avoid scams. Find the resources you need to understand how consumer protection law impacts your business. A closer look at both the Blue Rhino and AmeriGas cylinders revealed the companies disclose right on their labels that they fill only to a net weight of 15 pounds. In the Matter of Ferrellgas Partners, L.P., et al., FTC Docket No. 9360, Complaint (Mar. 27, 2014), available at /system/files/documents/cases/140401amerigascomplaint.pdf.
And Ferrellgas, L.P., also doing business as Blue Rhino (collectively “Blue Rhino”). I would have voted against this case, even if it had been pursued under the rule of reason because the evidence did not provide a reason to believe that the alleged conduct had an adverse impact on competition in the market for propane exchange tanks. AmeriGas and Blue Rhino are the two largest suppliers of propane exchange tanks in the United States, together controlling approximately 80 percent of the market. No other competitor serves more than nine percent of the market or is capable of serving large national retailers, such as Walmart and Lowe’s. As detailed in the Commission’s Complaint, in 2008, AmeriGas and Blue Rhino faced rapidly increasing input costs.
Walmart, the largest propane exchange tank retailer in the United States, resisted the fill reductions. Other retailers agreed to the fill reductions, but only on the condition that Walmart also would accept the fill reductions within a short period of time. Faced with resistance from Walmart, Blue Rhino and AmeriGas encountered the very real prospect that their fill reductions could unravel and the market would return to costlier and thus less profitable 17-pound tanks.
The parties had contracted to fill each other’s propane tanks in certain areas of the country where one of the firms did not have refilling and refurbishing facilities. As a result, there would have been an efficiency justification—the need for uniform fill levels across the two suppliers—for any agreement on the fill level, and such agreement, had one been reached, would have been appropriately evaluated under the rule of reason. I take no position here on the legality of that hypothetical agreement.
The decision about propane tank exchange vs refill is less about what is the better option, and more a matter of convenience vs price. So, is it cheaper to exchange a propane tank or refill it? I googled and found that Amerigas and Blue Rhino both offer propane cylinder exchange programs at approximately the same price locally. When you are ready to get rid of an unwanted or expired propane tank, it’s important that you do it the right way to keep everyone safe. Propane tanks can’t be thrown away in your regular trash pickup, but we’re here to make disposal easy. Exchanging your old propane tank for a refilled one is the easiest way to dispose of it, but if you need to get rid of it for good- you can also just drop it off at most propane refill or exchange locations.
The Olive Branch, MS, backyard chef cooks three to four times a week on his gas grill. He meticulously tracks what he cooks each week and how long. Fortunately, antitrust law requires a different and more economically sensible result. For example, AmeriGas and Blue Rhino executives spoke frequently in the days leading up to Walmart’s decision to accept the fill reductions, and at one point a frustrated AmeriGas Director of National Accounts suggested to Blue Rhino that it was time for them to issue an ultimatum to Walmart. Blue Rhino’s Vice President of Sales responded by urging AmeriGas to “hang in there” as Blue Rhino continued to negotiate with Walmart.
I have two tanks on rotation and just swap when empty it’s easier. ALWAYS transport and store a cylinder in a secure and upright position so it will not fall, shift, or roll. Use our visualizations to explore scam and fraud trends in your state based on reports from consumers like you.
The following allegations are taken from the complaint and publicly available information. This table of contents is a navigational tool, processed from the headings within the legal text of Federal Register documents. This repetition of headings to form internal navigation links has no substantive legal effect.
Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After 30 days, the Commission will review the Consent Agreements and any comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the Consent Agreements or make final the proposed orders contained in the Consent Agreements. Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.
By law, grilling cylinders are supposed to be re-tested and re-certified every 12 years. Even with Gibson’s cylinders, each right on the money at 20 pounds, a consumer still has to drive to the company’s warehouse to get that accurate fill. He swears no two 20-lb propane grilling cylinders are ever the same. That settlement, one of the parties, Blue Rhino, also agreed to provide additional antitrust compliance training to relevant company personnel.
To compete effectively to serve national retailers, including mass merchandisers such as Walmart, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s, propane exchange tank manufacturers must have access to refurbishing and refilling facilities located throughout the United States. AmeriGas and Blue Rhino are the only manufacturers who can supply exchange tanks to large national retailers, except on a limited basis. You can use our Location Finder to find local retailers who sell AmeriGas propane. Most retail locations have grill tanks available for both sale and exchange, so you can return your old grill tank and get a refilled one in one simple step! The location finder lets you know what services you will find at your local retailer.
Faced with resistance from Walmart, Blue Rhino and AmeriGas colluded by secretly agreeing that neither would deviate from their proposal to reduce the fill level to Walmart. Exchanged propane tanks are regularly inspected, so you’ll know that the tank you pick up has a lot of life left and has been checked for any issues. What you save in price by refilling, however, comes with a cost –the biggest being convenience. However, there’s likely a Ferrellgas office near your neighborhood, and our easy-to-use location finder makes it easy to find a store near you.
Under the terms of the Consent Agreements, AmeriGas and Blue Rhino are prohibited from agreeing with any competitor in the propane tank exchange business to modify fill levels or otherwise fix the prices of exchange tanks, or to coordinate communications with customers. Each is also required to maintain an antitrust compliance program. It also is worth noting that no one—including but not limited to the parties—has presented a plausible efficiency justification that might suggest the collusion between AmeriGas and Blue Rhino to reduce the amount of propane in tanks sold to Walmart was somehow procompetitive. This enforcement action therefore simply does not implicate traditional concerns over false positives and the fear that the Commission might inadvertently chill procompetitive behavior. The record is devoid of evidence supporting a plausible efficiency justification for the challenged agreement.
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